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Lecture 10

EESA06H3 Lecture 10: Lecture 10

Environmental Science
Course Code
Nick Eyles

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Lecture 10:
A Wide Ranging Review Of Environmental Challenges
- it is term that geologists increasingly use for basically the last 200 years
- in the original Greek, it means the age of man
The rocks that are older than about 600 million years old are usually pristine, there are no
problems interpreting them. And then once life kicks in, in a big way about 600 million years
ago, then you start seeing overprinting of original rock textures, structures by organisms that
have been burrowing down through rocks, either in search of food or protection and they
destroy the original structure
Problems that geologists face:
Urban Sprawl
The population is growing and the landscape is completely changing. Thus, the
landscape is being hardened; the roads and buildings. So, we see a lot more runoff
during storms.
The effects of weather are more pronounced in urban areas. It is not necessarily
because we are getting more extreme weather. It is because we are changing the
landscapes, so the effects of these rainfalls are more severe than they were in the
Managing/protecting water resources is huge because water is the new oil
Watersheds and ecosystems
Ecosystems are all being impacted by human activity, largely too because we have
been disposing of waste material. In the past, the idea has simply been to throw
waste in any available open hole. So, most of the City of Toronto is underlain by
what we call fill.
Wastes (nuclear, municipal, industrial etc.)
Nuclear waste has been stored on site at Pickering Nuclear Generator Station,
Darlington. It is right in the middle of a very dense urban conglomeration.
Municipal waste some of it are recycled but the remainder are put in landfills
Remediation of contaminated sites
Radon gas
This is an emerging issue in Canada because it is a gas that is produced by decay of
uranium and we found that the rocks that are very common in Canada, like granite,
gneiss produce a lot of radon. These radon gases get into basements and produce
various types of cancers.
Hazards: earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis
Mitigation of climate warming effects
Environmental impact of resource extraction and energy supplies
Environmental policy and planning
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economic damage total cost (in green)
In Southern Ontario there is about 13 billion dollars worth of infrastructure, which is
uninsured for earthquakes.
In 1947 most of it is farmland
In 1962 - the whole landscape has just
been buried by urban developmen
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Water, rain, snowmelt is going down through the geology. A lot of it is running off (that is the
blue arrow) That is what we call overland flow. The baseflow is the component of this moving
through as groundwater. That is a very important component because it keeps rivers flowing in
summer when there is no rain fall.
Hydrograph shows the amount of water that is moving down a river
Volume left
Time right
You can see the dramatic
effects of urban
development because we
have got more runoff
The ultimate fate of a lot
of contaminants:
To be moved down rivers
and then end up in
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